Creating Textures which would be impossible in your native 3D application is the reason Substance Painter was created
Substance Painter is the latest application from ALLEGORITHMIC. It offers a full texture paint creation suite to enable you to paint and detail your 3d meshes using in some cases a unique set of tools which are designed to get rid a lot of the chore of texture creation and replace it with the fun.
So why would you need a dedicated texture application? Surely the texture workflow in your 3D application is enough?
The truth is however, that 3D assets are no longer being prepared just for finished renders using native render engines, they are being created to work with 3rd party Render Engines such as Octane, VRay, RenderMan, Maxwell and Thearender. Alternatively you could be working with a team of artists who work across various 3D packages who all need to share assets, or more commonly you are creating assets for real-time scenarios such as games or VR.
Applications like Substance Painter allow artists to create bespoke textures which give your model a consistent appearance no matter what its final application is.
For a long time MARI from the Foundry was seen as the Texture app to beat them all, and it had a price to reflect this, which put it out of the reach of many artists. Even with the introduction of Mari Indie, which has many (but not all) of the features of its big brother there was room for an application to come along and shake things up.
This is exactly what Substance Painter’ from Allegorithmic has done. Allegorithmic had already gained a lot of attention for ‘Substance Designer’, which brought an original nodal workflow to Texture creation primarily for real-time applications. While an excellent tool, Substance Designer didn’t have many ways to directly connect with your model. With Substance Painter, Allegorithmic has created an application which allows you to do a lot more than just fix this missing link of painting on your model.
When first opening Substance Painter, it can be somewhat overwhelming there are palettes everywhere, but as you become more familiar with the workflow, a certain logic starts to fall into place in how to create textures.
There is however a lot to learn if you are unfamiliar with bespoke texture creation, which is just as applicable if you are using an application such as MARI. Models do need to prepared to work in Substance Painter, this means logical UV maps for each part of our model, along with a logical material selection.
Substance Painter's ability to select how paint other by brish or your models geomeotry including UV patch by a simple mouse click, vastly speeds up the painting process
Ideally you will have made image maps as well, such as Normal, Ambient Occlusion. These are loaded when you import a model, this can all be daunting for the novice, and the examples given in the comprehensive training which Allegorithmic provide on their Youtube channel, do assume that you have this working knowledge, as well as a copy of ‘Substance Designer’ to make these initial maps in (most 3D applications can handle this map creation). In fact Substance Painter is best viewed as part of a suite of applications alongside ‘Substance Designer’ and ‘Bitmap2Material’.
While Substance Painter can work fine by itself, I felt I was missing a key part of a total solution by not having access to the other applications.
This isn’t necessarily a criticism, through the Substance Live pricing initiative, Allegorithmic has, if you are a freelance artist, provided arguably the most straightforward and fair way of part paying for your licenses as we detailed when Substance Live launched.
Once you have your model imported Substance Painter is quick, ridiculously so compared to MARI in getting paint down, with the wide range of selection and masking tools alongside the advanced layering system you can have a model fully coloured much more quickly than you can in a native 3D application. The brushes and alphas are a joy to use, and there is a wide range of materials and ‘Substances’ to help you create rich texture sets.
Then there is the particle paint system, this is a physics based painting system which can follow the contours of your model to create bespoke weathering and details which by the fact that’s you are running a sim are uniquely shaped to your model.
Substance Painter offers a new paradigm in adding wear and tear to your models using the Particle Painting toolset which follows the contours of your model to create bespoke paint strokes.
When tied in with the detailing that can be achieved with the manipulation of ‘Substances’, Substance Painter is a very ‘deep’ application, and your definitely getting your money’s worth.
But will you use it? I found when using Substance Painter I was mixing its output with MARI, which is no bad thing necessarily as both give different results to the same problem, but did find there were some frustrations.
To get the speed that I mentioned earlier, as with most texture creation software you need a fast machine with a decent GPU. On my 3 year old Macbook Pro Retina, Substance Painter fell over with every model I threw at it, and when it was working the painting was noticeably slow.
There does feel like there is a lot of UI in the way before you can get to your model, and as with most Allegorithmic products there is a reasonable learning curve to get you up to proper working speed, and as mentioned earlier, I would definitely recommend buying the entire Substance Live suite if your considering Substance Painter as that gives you a true end to end texture creation workflow.
The biggest frustration, however, is while Substance Painter can adapt the texture size it is working from easily from one resolution to another, the texture limit at the moment is 4k, while this can be got round by good scene logistics it would be fantastic to see support for larger texture sizes.
Substance Painter lets you review your model at any point with advanced lighting and camera effects using the Yebis 2 real-time engine
At the end of day though Substance Painter can hold it’s own with MARI and when integrated with its sibling applications if purchased through Substance Live provides a compelling reason to move your texture creation into a whole new realm using these dedicated applications.
Which means that Substance Painter is RGBHQ Approved!
Want to find out more about how to use Substance Painter? Let us know below and we will help!